Waco Mom – Camille Wilder gives us a history lesson and helpful links to community opportunities and black-owned, Waco businesses that we encourage you support not just this month, but all the time!
Black History Month is an annual celebration of achievements by African Americans and a time for recognizing their role in U.S. History.
It started as “Negro History Week,” created by Harvard-trained historian Carter G. Woodson and other prominent African Americans. They chose the second week of February to coincide with the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass.
In the following decades, mayors across the country started issuing yearly proclamations recognizing “Negro History Week.” President Gerald Ford officially recognized Black History Month in 1976, encouraging the public to “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of Black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.”
Doris Miller, a native of Waco, served as Cook Third Class aboard the battleship West Virginia during the attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941. After carrying his wounded captain to safety, Miller manned a .50-caliber machine gun, having no training, and fired at attacking planes. He was the first African American awarded the Navy Cross, the third-highest honor awarded by the U.S. Navy at the time for “valor beyond his training and assignment.” You can find out more about Waco’s very own WWII hero Doris Miller and visit his memorial right here in Waco.
Paul Quinn College is the oldest historically black college west of the Mississippi River. The school’s initial purpose was to educate freed slaves and their children. A group of African Methodist Episcopal preachers founded the school in Austin in 1872. It moved to Waco in 1877. They taught freedmen blacksmithing, carpentry, tanning, and saddle work skills. The school grew and received accreditation in 1972 with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and moved to Dallas in 1990. The Paul Quinn historic campus in Waco is now home to Quinn Middle School for Rapoport Academy, continuing to educate future generations.
Take a Black History Month Walking Tour! Or take part in other opportunities to learn and celebrate Black History Month!
Waco Walks is hosting a free, Black History Month walk with the Baylor Oral History Department on Saturday, February 11, at 10 a.m. For more information, click here!
Supporting Black-Owned Businesses
While Black History Month provides a tremendous opportunity to highlight Black-owned businesses, I believe supporting minority-owned businesses should be something we do regularly. And Waco is fortunate to have some incredible Black-owned businesses. Let us know if there are others we may have missed!
Camera Coach Photography
Da’Shack Farmer’s Market (seasonal farmer’s market open March-June)
Divine Cuts & Styles
The Eatery Soul Food
Fluff Wash + Fold
Footprintz Dance Company
Friday’s Seafood and More
GG’s FlowerHut, LLC
The Waco Jockey Club Barber Shop
Mac’s Fry House
Mama and Papa B’s BBQ
Papa Jacks BBQ
Prosperity Tax Service
Sascee’s Southern Eatery
4 Sons Trucking, Inc.
I encourage you to take some time and celebrate Black History Month in and around Waco, because Black History truly is part of American History.